BUZ LIVINGSTON: Fine day for a wedding — and remembering

Buz Livingston

This Memorial Day weekend coincides with our anniversary and our son’s wedding. He will marry a stunning University of Georgia graduate on May 25, the same day his great-uncle (and now hers) was killed in action while serving with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines during the tail-end of the Tet Offensive. Some families may think it macabre to align a wedding this way, but not so fast. Stephanie comes from a military family, her sister and brother-in-law both served in Iraq and Afghanistan, her dad in Mogadishu. Uncle Joe’s fiancée was another striking UGA grad, another family tradition.

Recently I read part of “To End All Wars” on my Droid. Like a lot of things, how it got there is unclear but I’m glad.

“To End All Wars” does not simply rehash the carnage unleashed a century past in World War I but explores it in a far different manner. John French led the largest army Britain ever assembled while his sister vigorously opposed the war. Despite their differences, they remained unusually close throughout their lives.

Rather than being another recitation of just the facts, the author explores contradictions, oft times on personal levels. The book’s forward points out how dramatically different early 20th century society was. Twelve percent of British soldiers died but among nobility (peers and sons of peers) the figure was 19 percent. The 1913 Oxford class, Britain’s elite, saw almost one-third killed. The German chancellor’s son died, likewise the British prime minister’s son. 

Former President Theodore Roosevelt lost a son while a future British prime minister lost two. The British general chief of staff for the Western Front lost two sons while his French counterpart lost three. You have to wonder if Congressional war hawks would rattle sabers so vigorously if their sons and daughters would go in harm’s way.

Semper Fi, Uncle Joe.

A note to Jim Bagby, our new TDC chief

Our own Chris Alvarado just won a songwriter’s contest in Austin, Texas, the live music capital of the world. To paraphrase Joe Biden, this is a big deal. The TDC spends millions of dollars on out of state advertising firms. While the TDC does not totally ignore the local music scene, the TDC does miss a unique opportunity to market our area. Duke Bardwell toured with Elvis; Tim Jackson has an iPod stuffed with original tunes; Geoff McBride is a TV star, and I’ve just scratched the surface. Musicians who tour globally see Forrest Williams’ Backyard as a magical venue. 

Make a video featuring Duke, Geoff, Chris and other local musicians then use it to promote the area. No need to bring in some out of town all-star; Mike Ragsdale and Bryan Kennedy know the ropes. The TDC could advertise the South Walton music scene to tourists and keep the dollars in the local economy. 

Grayton State Park Pier:

It’s gone but will rise again. Under the guise of revenue generation, crony capitalism slinks in. The Grayton Pier would benefit construction and engineering companies but shift risk to the public since either state and/or county taxpayers would be on the hook for maintenance and operating costs. Put the capital back in capitalism, let private business build a pier.

Buz Livingston, CFP, has the only investment management firm in the entire world headquartered in Blue Mountain Beach.  He helps clients along Florida’s Emerald Coast and around the country with financial decisions.  For more information, call 850-267-1068 or visit www.livingstonfinancial.net.  Follow him on Twitter @BuzLivingston.